Legally Blonde The Musical opened at the Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto on October 22, 2015. Directed by Alan Kinsella, the musical is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon.
UCLA sorority sister Elle Woods is in love with Warner Huntington III and anticipating a marriage proposal, however, he’s on his way to Harvard Law School to follow a political trajectory set by his affluent parents and has no room for a less-than-serious girl in his future. Determined to prove she is no intellectual lightweight, Elle nixes her plans for fashion merchandizing, scores high on the LSAT and is accepted into Harvard Law School, with the goal of winning Warner back.
We could all learn a thing or two from Elle. Although apparently self-absorbed in her fashion world, she is also highly adaptable to circumstances, thinks outside the box (who else would have her cheerleader friends accompany her on a personal essay interview?) and possesses a steely determination to achieve her goals, despite the apparent odds against her.
Madison Hayes-Crook in the leading role demonstrates her triple-threat talents, juggling singing, dancing and acting deftly. With a passing resemblance to Alicia Silverstone, Hayes-Crook captures Elle’s complex traits of wilfullness and charming vulnerability. Hayes-Crook’s strong voice is particularly lovely when she is singing softly in the upper octaves.
It’s too bad that Breanne Dietrick as Vivienne Kensington, Elle’s rival, was not able to showcase her gorgeous vocals until late in Act II in “Legally Blonde Remix”. It would have been great to hear more of her voice.
Lindsay Van der Grinten brings the brassiness and the Brooklyn accent to her role as beautician Paulette Bonafonte. Van der Grinten as Paulette owns the stage and is funny and charmingly clumsy in her scenes with her crush, Kyle, the UPS delivery guy.
Bryden Rutherford was appropriately low key and sympathetic as Elle’s law school friend and secret crush Emmett Forrest and displayed solid vocals on “Chip On My Shoulder.”
Michael Galloro’s versatile set consisted of two large doors that opened to reveal a Harvard law class, a beauty salon and a courtroom.
Greg Carruthers’s dynamic choreography featured energetic dance moves, particularly in the pulsating “What You Want.” In the vigorous number “Whipped Into Shape,” Justine Grimes as fitness guru Brooke Wyndham leads the company in a highly impressive, complex skipping sequence.
As Elle’s sorority sisters of Delta Nu who act as a Greek chorus, Rae Bernakevitch, Miranda Reynolds and April Clemmens provide great harmony and backup dancing on “Positive.”
The show, which ran for approximately 150 minutes with a 15 minute intermission, could have benefited from editing in spots, particularly in Act II, but overall, the musical presents a glorious opportunity for cheerful, energetic entertainment.
Legally Blonde the Musical at Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto runs from October 22, 2015 to November 22, 2015. Tickets are $49.99 to $69.99 and may be purchased online.